In a nutshell, the Venture X Rewards Credit Card from Capital One is an industry game changer.
This is Capital One's first luxury travel credit card, and it stands out not only for its impressive list of travel benefits – including two annual benefits that easily justify the card's cost – but also for its generous rewards program, which gives you bonus miles on all eligible purchases, not just travel expenses.
The Venture X is one of the greatest credit cards on the market, and it may be the best travel credit card as well, thanks to its generous sign-up bonus and lower annual cost than most of its premium competition.
However, the Venture X card may not be the greatest choice for those who only travel on a regular basis because of its travel-centric benefits, annual incentives, and most valued redemptions. It's also worth noting that, regardless of how much more value the Venture X can deliver over other, lower-cost cards, you may not be able to stomach the $395 annual price.
Why the Capital One Venture X card may be for you
Travelers who don't mind paying an annual fee in exchange for valuable benefits like travel credits and access to airport lounges might look into the Venture X card as an option.
The Venture X comes with a flexible rewards program that allows you to redeem miles for travel with the issuer or to pay outside travel expenses, in addition to a large sign-up bonus and numerous valuable advantages that make it easier to offset the cost of the card.
Excellent reward rate for both travel and non-travel purchases.
It's not uncommon for luxury travel cards to offer large returns on travel expenditures like airline and hotel reservations, but the Venture X card goes above and above with its generous rewards on everyday purchases.
When you book hotels, rental cars, and flights through the Capital One Travel portal, you'll get 10 points for every dollar spent, plus an additional 5 miles for every dollar spent on flights. You'll also earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on everything else.
In terms of hotel and airline reservations, rival luxury travel cards may be able to equal the Venture X card's rewards rate, but few can match the card's higher points rate on all other expenditures. When it comes to general spending, comparable cards that earn 2 to 5 points per dollar on travel, dining, and groceries nearly never provide more than 1 point per dollar. Many flat-rate reward cards offer 1.5 or 2 points per dollar on all eligible transactions, but there are no bonus rewards rates for any specific spending categories. As a result, the rewards program for the Venture X credit card is truly unique and has the potential to be extremely lucrative, especially for those who make large purchases and travel frequently.
Let's imagine you fly 10 times a year at $350 each, for a total of $3,500 in airfare expenses. It is possible to earn 17,500 miles by booking through the Capital One Travel platform (at a rate of 5 miles per dollar). Additional 56,000 miles can be earned annually by spending $1,500 per month on general purchases (at a rate of 2 miles per dollar) and $2,000 on Capital One-booked hotels and rental cars (at a 10 mile per dollar rate). This adds up to an annual mileage total of 73,500 miles, which are worth $735 when used for travel.
This means that even after subtracting the $395 annual charge, you'd still have a profit of $340.
The annual fee is easily paid for by perks and bonuses alone
For anyone concerned about the high annual cost, you can be assured that the card's excellent advantages make it well worth it. As a matter of fact, if you take advantage of just two of the card's most important perks—the account anniversary bonus and the annual statement credits on Capital One Travel purchases—you'll be able to cover the card's annual fee in whole.
For every anniversary of your Capital One credit card, you'll receive 10,000 bonus miles, which are worth $100 when used to pay for travel through Capital One or to cover other travel expenses. Capital One Travel purchases qualify for annual statement credits of up to $300.
As a result, if you're already spending $400 or more on travel each year, carrying the Venture X card is almost free. With an annual charge of $395, you'll receive $100 in travel rewards each year, and if you book through the Capital One Travel portal, your first $300 in expenses will be reimbursed by statement credits.
For those who travel frequently, the card's other significant features, such as a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years and a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, may be more appropriate. You'll also have two free guest passes per year, as well as unlimited access to the brand-new Capital One Lounge. This lounge access alone might cover the yearly expense of the Priority Pass card if you consider that a Priority Pass Standard Plus membership is $299.
Unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which charges $75 per authorized user, this card does not incur any fees for the first four authorized users you add to the card.
When compared to other luxury travel credit cards, the Venture X offers a remarkable array of perks to cardholders. Amex Platinum's $695 annual charge and Chase's $550 annual cost diminish in compared to a $395 yearly fee on the American Express Visa Signature.
Simple travel redemptions
As with the original Venture Rewards Credit Card from Capital One, the Venture X offers a wide range of redemption options. For the first time, the Venture X allows you to redeem miles for travel not only through the Capital One Travel portal, but also for bookings made directly with airlines and hotels or via third-party travel sites like Expedia.
For those of you who like to compare prices on flights and hotels before making a decision, this is a huge benefit.
There is a good selection of travel transfer partners, including British Airways, Air France-KLM, Avianca LifeMiles and Wyndham Rewards, all of which allow you to transfer miles at a 1:1 ratio. Transferring your Capital One miles this way may even provide you a better return on your money, depending on the value of the transfer partner's rewards currency.
Excellent sign-up bonus
This is the best moment to apply for a travel rewards card because the Venture X card offers one of the largest sign-up bonuses currently available on the market. It doesn't matter if the current bonus is lower than the card's original 100,000-mile bonus, because it's still a very good deal. When redeeming points for travel, you can get 75,000 extra miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which is worth $750 when redeemed for travel.
This is a good enough bonus value to compete with the more expensive Amex Platinum ($695 annual fee) and Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) credit cards, which have far higher annual fees than this card.
What are the drawbacks with this card?
A great travel rewards credit card, no doubt, the Venture X is not the greatest fit for your goals or spending patterns if it is not accompanied with a generous welcome bonus and a great rewards rate on both travel and regular expenditures.
A lower-cost, more versatile rewards card may be a better option if you only travel a few times a year or if you want the ability to redeem rewards for both cash and travel without compromising rewards value.
A suboptimal choice for infrequent travelers
For first-time travelers, the Venture X card may be out of reach despite its substantial rewards rate on non-travel expenditures and its simple benefits, which help to offset its price.
Capital One travel bookings and up to $300 in yearly statement credits for Capital One Travel purchases are essential to getting the most out of this card. Even if you travel frequently enough to take use of these benefits, the annual fee for the Venture X card may be too much for you if you don't mind booking travel through an external gateway instead of the issuer's.
To break even with the Venture X card, you'll need to spend at least $19,750 a year (just under $1,650 per month) on general expenditures and no trip bookings. Compare this against a less expensive choice, like the Venture card, to see how it stacks up. If you want to break even with the Venture X and its $95 annual fee, you'll need to spend just over $395 a month. That's less than one-fourth of what you'd need to do with the Venture card. An extreme illustration of how difficult it could be for people with moderate spending and travel habits to justify the Venture X card's premium is provided here.
Additionally, the Venture X isn't a good choice if you plan to use your rewards for anything other than travel, such as cash back, gift cards, online shopping, or other travel-related redemptions. A non-travel redemption will often reduce the value of your miles, making it even more difficult to justify the expense of the Venture X.
Here, the Venture X card rewards program falls short of the flexibility offered by a program like Chase Ultimate Rewards, which offers 1-cent-per-point redemptions on everything from airfare through gift cards.
Perks are limited for non-travel related expenses
When it comes to features like fast security screening and airport lounge access, the Venture X card's perks may not be enough for you. On premium cards, you won't get perks like gratis meal delivery subscriptions or shopping and ridesharing credits.
Compare this to the Amex Platinum, an exclusive card that some users have described as "beginning to resemble a coupon book" because of all the extra credits and discounts it offers. Additionally, the Amex Platinum card would provide you with hundreds of dollars worth of incentives, like up to $200 in Uber credits, up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credit, up to $300 in Equinox gym membership credits, and more.
The bottom line
Venture X should be an excellent choice if you frequently travel and want a credit card that you can use for most of your travel and day-to-day expenses.
In addition to the annual fee, the best-in-class points rate on general purchases ensures that the card will continue to provide value even if your travel expenditure decreases.
But if you aren't sure you'll spend at least a few hundred dollars on travel each year or if you want the ability to redeem for cash back without losing reward value, a lower-cost general rewards card may be a better match for you.